I was really stumped this year when my husband asked what I wanted from Santa. Every other year this has been a question with an obvious answer, even if it did not make it into words, even if it stayed locked in the deepest, darkest part of my heart. There were years when I didn’t have words to ask, because I was too young. There were more years when it would have been dangerous to ask, because there was no chance of success, and a certainty of having my dream held up for public mockery. There were years when it was pointless to ask, because I the resources weren’t there. But there were countless years when I didn’t ask because I’d had to bury the dream so deeply that I hardly even remembered it was there.
But my heart’s desire was always there, whether right on top, or stored carefully away for safe-keeping. It’s been there.
What do I want from Santa?
I want a horse, of course.
Who wouldn’t want a horse, for pete’s sake? Santa, bring me a pony. A real pony, not a rocking horse, not a toy. A living, breathing, running-around-warm-whiskery-kisses horse. A horse with personality. A horse I can love and that would love me back. A horse that I can say is my horse, and I can play with it and comb it and take care of it and teach it things and it can teach me things and make messes and play with me. A real horse. That’s what I want. That’s what I’ve always wanted.
Some years I wanted a palomino. Some years, I wanted an Appaloosa. Some years I wanted a draft horse. Once I wanted a paint. But it’s horses, all the way down.
What do I want from Santa?
This is the problem, you see. Now I have Huey the Wonder Horse. My deepest heart’s desire has been fulfilled. He’s here. And I’m here. And it’s just as wonderful as I always knew it would be.
I was right to want a horse. It’s amazing.
But now, I don’t really want anything at all. I have a horse. What else could there be?
I don’t want to see the world. First, I’ve seen quite a bit of it, and I enjoyed the hell out of that – I have particularly fond memories of a tiny little restaurant in Florence, and of Amnesia Coffeeshop in Amsterdam, and of the Irish coast, and the rooftops of Paris. I’d love to see those things again, and expand…except that means I wouldn’t get to see Huey. Uh-oh. “Exciting Foreign Travel” turns out to be a lot lower on my Wish List than “Have A Horse”.
I don’t want expensive jewelry. I can’t wear big earrings under my helmet, and besides, they’d just make Huey’s paddock buddy Tango want to chew on my ears. Necklaces? Can’t see them through my barn coat. Rings? Given that I washed my hands three (3) times this morning after going down to give Huey a nice brush-out and they still smelled like him after that, I don’t think I’d dare to wear a swankier ring than my titanium wedding band.
Clothes? Got that already. There is a wet-weather riding coat I’ve got my eye on from an ad in Dressage Today. So maybe that’s still on the list.
Perfume? It better go with the Eau Du Huey, since it’s obvious that I can’t actually get that out of my skin.
What is there to want, after I’ve received my heart’s desire?
More. More years with Roy and Buster and Huey. More years of riding and purring and loving. I want more time, and I want that time to be filled with exactly the same kind of thing it’s filled with now. I want to preserve these moments, and have them never end.
That, of course, is the one thing that is completely impossible. These days will pass away, I will age and die, as will Roy, Buster, and Huey. This will be a perfectly miserable experience, very likely made even worse by having had what I have right now. And yet, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I’m grateful to have found Roy, despite the myriad complications that he’s introduced into my life over the years. I’m glad that Erica at the Dane County Humane Society was on the desk when Animal Control brought in Buster’s broken, wild little body, and she persuaded the Powers That Be to fix him up, and she fostered him until he was ready to find his forever home with me. I’m glad that Laura was at the auction when Huey came up, and persuaded herself to get him and fix him up, and fostered him until he was ready to join Buster as part of my menagerie. I’m grateful for all of it, and grateful to play my role in providing the forever homes. I’m grateful that I have the time and resources to seize my dream and inhabit it.
Damn, I’m lucky. So, Santa, the only real wish I have is to keep what I’ve got. And to have the strength to navigate the inevitable time when this wish proves impossible to fulfill. And to keep seizing the moment, and keep recognizing the opportunities, and to keep encountering – with good fortune and an open heart – those who will open these doors for me.
That’s all that’s left, once you have a horse.
With that, I share the fruits of my evening with YouTube, which turns out to be a repository of Real Life Hallmark Moments.
Now, this is what I call a suitable response…tears:
This is too darling for words:
This is the shortest, but possibly my favorite: